André Marin, Ontario Ombudsman, has praised the passing of Bill 8, the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014, as a positive step towards keeping the public sector accountable.

The bill will grant Marin the ability to investigate public concerns within municipalities, universities, school boards, hospitals and long-term care homes, children’s aid societies and police (MUSH) sector.

“We look forward to finally being able to help the thousands of complainants who have come to us from these sectors,” Marin said in a press release by the Ombudsman Ontario office.

The changes bring the jurisdiction of Ontario’s Ombudsman up to date with that of Ombudsmen in other provinces.

Bill 8 is expected to add around 548 bodies, including 443 municipalities, 22 universities, and 83 school boards, to the offices Marin already oversees, effectively doubling their number.

The role of the Ontario Ombudsman is to address individual complaints and systematically investigate problems with MUSH services.

The Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario operates independently under the legislature.

While the Ontario Ombudsman does not oversee matters dealt with by the City of Toronto Ombudsman, his office will still be able to conduct investigations related to Toronto without formal prompting.

In 2013–2014, the Ontario Ombudsman’s office received 26,999 cases.

Once the government has made the necessary provisions, a date will be set for the Ombudsman’s new jurisdiction to come into force.

A statement released by the Ontario Ombudsman’s office encourages members of the public looking to make complaints relating to MUSH services to check social media and the Ombudsman’s website for updates.